The grand finale

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September 10th 2014
Published: September 9th 2014
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It's great to go out with a bang and finishing our tour of Spain in Granada has certainly given us a grand finale. Granada remained under Islamic rule for 250 years after Seville and Córdoba fell to the Catholic kings in the mid13th century, until the fateful triumph of 1492. In that time it was ruled by the Nasrid dynasty who set themselves up in the Alhambra, andextraordinary complex of magnificent palaces, fortress and of course gardens that had me turning corner after corner with exclaming 'This is amazing!' until I sounded like a broken record. stunning vista after another. the complex includes the main Palacio Nasrid with ornate stucco plasterwork, tiles and ceilings, the vast and beautiful Lion's courtyard and rows of lovely arches. There is a huge fortress, a baths complex, new palace built in 16th C by Charles V, and, perhaps best of all, the Generalife, the summer palace with magnificent gardens, ponds and fountains, designed as a place for retreat and meditation (although some 6000 tourists a day do detract from the sense of tranquility! it is truely a wondrous place and we are so lucky to have visited it.

While the fortress at the Alhambra bears the triumph of the Catholic monarchs it's a moot point these days as to,whether Granada is gradually being reconquerred by Morocco. In many ways it is very Middle Eastern - a souk that feels just like the one in Jerusalem, swarm everywhere and lots of North African migrants. We ate last night at a lovely Morrocan restaurant and most of the clientele spoke Arabic.

Of course the Islamic feel is also good for tourism and we are getting right into it. Tomorrow we are doing a Segway tour of the Albayzín, the old Islamic quarter which is experiencing something of a revival, and finishing the day with a hamam and massage.

Them we head home via Barcelona (where we hope to have time to see the Miro gallery between flights) and Dubai (a day's stopover). We are not ready for our trip to end and are trying to avoid thinking about the weather or resuming all the responsibilities of life. But it will be good to see friends and family and we have had so many fabulous experiemces they should sustain us for a long time.

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